Growing your garden without growing your aches and pains

Gardening is one heck of a chore. Check out these few simple tips from our resident gardening enthusiast (and fabulous Pilates instructor), Claire, to try and save the body from the rigorous wear and tear of that pesky yard work. 

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Get a stool

Having a small stool or chair to sit in is always a valuable tool in the garden, especially when planting in a raised bed.

You can also use your stool to ease the transition from the ground to a standing position.

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When using a watering can, start pouring the water out by bracing it against a knee or thigh to support the weight of the watering can in a position that won’t pull on the neck or lower back.

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If you have to do a lot of work on the ground, try crawling from section to section instead of getting up and down each time you move to another area in your yard. Crawling is a great core stabilizer and encourages a healthy spine while gardening. (knee pads and wrist braces may be beneficial for protecting joints while crawling)

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To protect the shoulder and neck area while watering: Rather than holding the hose (or item) far away from the body (image to the left), try bending your elbow and hug your arm in towards your body to hold (bottom image). This should help pull the weight of the hose closer to your core, so you can maintain a relaxed shoulder and easy neck.

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When trimming branches try holding higher up on the pruning shears to make the grip easier on the wrists. This grip also keeps the tool closer to your center for easier access to your core, and not the neck.

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Widen your stance

If you have to lean over a working table for an extended period of time, try widening your stance to get your center of gravity lower. Then try hinging forward from the hips, rather than rounding into the lower back to bend over.

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Tilling dirt is always a challenge. Start by keeping the arms and elbows low to avoid getting into the neck. When twisting into the dirt, twist from the waist and hips to encourage the obliques to help. Let the knees gently twist with the pelvis and ribs so the whole body is a part of the action.

FULL DISCLAIMER: Gardening is inevitably a huge chore for the body!! Warming up beforehand always helps prime the body up for the rigorous work ahead. For you post garden routine, take a moment to lie down with your miracle balls, or 9 inch deflated ball, under the low back to help alleviate the tightness your bound to have.

Claire Brunelli